Kraken is a highly respected digital currency exchange known for providing access to the world’s leading cryptocurrencies.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is one of the oldest bitcoin exchanges on the market. Over the years, its service offerings have expanded beyond just bitcoin to include some of the world’s leading altcoins.
The platform also has the distinction of being the first exchange to be listed on the Bloomberg terminals.
Today, Kraken is trusted by government officials in Japan and regulated banks throughout Europe, making it one of the most respected exchanges available.
This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrencies or a recommendation to invest. Historic performance is no guarantee of future returns. As an investment class, cryptocurrencies are speculative investments and investing in cryptocurrencies involves significant risks – they are highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and capital loss and sensitive to secondary activity. Before investing you should obtain advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks.
What is Kraken?
Kraken is a leading digital currency exchange for “serious and professional traders”. The platform is designed with the sophisticated trader in mind and provides access to many sought-after features such as fast execution speed, margin trading and deep liquidity.
Kraken offers comprehensive services for the crypto investor, such as the ability to buy and sell bitcoin and trade digital tokens against fiat currency.
The exchange is also transparent, offering proof of reserve audits and a high level of security.
What currencies can I buy, sell and margin trade?
Kraken allows you to trade bitcoin and altcoin against government-issued fiat currency. Importantly, it does not currently support transactions in Australian dollars, so first you'll need to convert to one of the platform's supported fiat currencies:
- US dollars
- British pound
- Japanese yen
- Canadian dollars
The platform offers access to a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including:
- Ether Classic
- Bitcoin Cash
Is Kraken available in Australia?
Kraken is available globally, with exceptions. Australians are able to sign up for and use Kraken, but can't transact in Australian dollars or access all payment and withdrawal methods.
Which payment methods are accepted?
Kraken accepts payments through fiat currency and cryptocurrency. To make a deposit, log in and go to Account > Funding > Deposit. Here, you’ll be prompted to choose your deposit method.
It’s also important to note that USD deposits via wire transfer are only available for Tier 3 or Tier 4 account holders. These tiers refer to your level of account verification. A full breakdown of the tier structure is available on the Kraken site.
Credit cards, debit cards and PayPal are not currently supported.
How much does Kraken cost?
Fees start as low as 0% and depend largely on how much you trade. Fees are charged on a per-trade basis and calculated as a percentage of the trade’s quoted currency volume.
Kraken offers one of the most comprehensive fee schedules on the market. For full disclosure on how much trading will cost you, visit Kraken’s website.
How quickly will my funds be available?
International wire transfers are processed in approximately 1-5 business days.
Are there any transfer limits?
You won’t be able to withdraw funds if it puts you over your current daily or monthly limit. The same rule applies for deposits, except that the window is set daily. Below are the maximum withdrawal limits by tier.
|Daily limit||Monthly limit|
|Tier 1 (digital currency only)||US$2,500||US$20,000|
|Tier 2 - Fiat currencyTier 2 - Cryptocurrency||US$2,000US$5,000||US$10,000US$10,000|
Is Kraken secure?
This is an important consideration, and one you should investigate for yourself. However, Kraken is considered one of the safest bitcoin exchanges around. The platform provides cryptography-verified proof of reserve audits. These audits verify the total amount of cryptocurrency held by Kraken. The company appears to be well capitalised and very safe to use.
In fact, Kraken’s security features are made public on its website. All new deposits go directly to cold wallets, where the vast majority of coins are stored. All wallets are encrypted.
Users also enjoy 2-factor authentication and vast protection against malicious attempts to retrieve personal login information.
Although there has been some concern over privacy when uploading documents, Kraken maintains an isolated system for sending documents. Your account information and verification documents are also encrypted.
Kraken is one of the world’s most popular bitcoin exchanges, which means its customer support may sometimes be overwhelmed. That’s why the platform offers a Support Centre, Help Centre and detailed FAQ section, which can help you troubleshoot any problems.
You can also submit a request if none of the available resources help.
Kraken pros & cons
- Highly respected exchange
- Low transaction fees
- Professional trading platform with all the bells and whistles
- Margin trading and short selling
- Australian dollars not available
- Limited payment methods
- Not suitable for beginners
- Customer support can be overwhelmed at times, leading to slower service
First, you need to study the features and decide whether Kraken suits your needs. If you’re keen on giving Kraken a shot, simply visit the website and click “Open an account” to get started. Here, you’ll be prompted to complete a form and activate your account. Once verified, you can fund your account with cryptocurrency or cash.
Frequently asked questions
Image source: Kraken